Daylight had turned to dusk and Bruno sat in his small kitchen area. I need to come up with a new plan to get into the buildin’, he thought, as he devoured his cooked greasy sausages and eggs.
Being in a rush, the dirty plate, and utensils, he haphazardly dropped onto the grease-laden skillet that lay in the bottom of the sink. Clothed in jeans, a long sleeve shirt, boots, and his heavy-weather coat, he was ready to brave the weather’s hostile climate. As he approached his front door, he thought, I’ve forgotten somethin’. His right hand went into his coat pocket and wrapped itself around his trusty balaclava. I’ve got it! He turned off the lights and opened the front door.
Shock was his first reaction. Standing directly in front of him were a woman and a man.
“Going somewhere?” Detective Perez asked. The surprise he expressed was obvious.
“Just goin’ to the diner,” he said, unconvincingly.
Detectives Perez and Andretta stood side-by-side, blocking his exit. “We’d like to ask you a few more questions? Do you want to talk out here where everyone can hear, or would you rather talk inside?” she goaded. By doing so, she was confident he would allow them entry.
Detective Andretta observed the slight tremor to Bruno’s hands, as he backed into his apartment. Being last to enter, the detective closed the door.
“What do you want?”
“I was wondering if you can remember what clothes you were wearing last Friday night, when you went out,” Detective Perez asked. I hope he’s forgotten what he said at our interview.
Bruno said, with a look of contempt, “What are you comin’ at? You know I was here all night. I was in bed, so don’t try to get me to change my story,” he said, bitterly.
“Is that what it is . . . a story?”
“You know what I’m sayin’. I have an alibi and you can’t change it. Go chase someone else. I’m not the guy you’re after.”
“So, you have nothing to hide?”
“What do you mean by … hide? Such as?”
“Well, what if were to search your apartment, with your permission of course, and find something belonging to the Harris’s?”
“You need a warrant. You can’t search unless you have one. And why would I have anythin’ of theirs?”
“You tell us? We know we need a warrant, but that’s not what I’m asking. If we searched here would we find anything from the Harris’s?”
“No!” He then thought of the perfume and clothing he had just disposed of. What fuckin’ luck!
“Do you have any objections to us looking around? We won’t disturb anything.”
He knew he was on dangerous ground. I’ll just have to take a chance on them not findin’ anythin’. Once they see there’s nothin’ here, they’ll probably leave me alone. “Go ahead. Search all you like.” His smirk was self-righteous.
Detective Perez was hoping the cellophane wrap would still be on the floor, or in the cardboard carton used for garbage.
Shit! It’s gone. Feeling slightly despondent, she walked to the bedroom doorway and glanced inside. A lingering hint of Barbara’s perfume and a faint smell of bleach permeated the air. They’re definitely the same odors.
“Michael, search the bedroom thoroughly.”
What if they find somethin’? Has Katherine identified me? She can’t have, I was wearing my balaclava, he thought. Fuck! It’s in my pocket.
Detective Perez took note of the greasy plate and skillet in the kitchen sink. “You said you were going down to the diner. Why would you do that if you’ve just eaten?”
Bruno remained silent.
“Michael, have you found anything?” She was hoping for a positive response.
Bruno’s instincts were telling him to run. I could get away, but I’d have to be quick.
He could feel perspiration easing through the pores of his forehead, and his armpits felt wetter than normal. Trapped, was how he felt.
“Found something! Leah, can you come in here?”
“There’s no perfume bottle, but I found these gloves. Have a smell,” he said, when she was by his side.
I’m fuckin’ stupid! How’d I forget them? That’s what I get for thinkin’ about Katherine and bein’ in a hurry. Bruno’s stomach cramped. I’ll fuckin’ run, while they’re not lookin’. What the hell? I’ll only get caught!
Detective Andretta walked from the bedroom, held by their stretch band, between right hand thumb and forefinger, a pair of black leather gloves. The strong odor of bleach was unmistakable.
“Are these yours?” he asked, as he held them at arm’s length and shoulder height.
“Yeah,” he said, with resignation.
“Can we take them for testing?”
“Testin’ for what?”
Bruno was in full panic mode. He knew he was in serious trouble if they took them.
“You need a warrant.”
“Not if you say we can take them.”
“You can’t. I was goin’ out and I need them. Get a warrant. Now get the hell outa here. I’ve had enough of this crap. You didn’t come here for those, so you must’ve been after somethin’ else, and you didn’t find it. Get out!” He was angry, but more at himself for not thinking of the contaminated gloves. “Leave the gloves!”
Detective Andretta reluctantly complied as they walked from the apartment. Bruno immediately slammed the door shut and locked himself in. I’d better stay here. I don’t have to go. What if they get a warrant? If the gloves aren’t here, I’m safe. I have to get rid of them. The cops could be waitin’ outside. I’ll use the door leadin’ to the laneway. They won’t see me leavin’.
As sneakily as he could, he crept down the stairs, hugging the wall, until he reached the rear door. With it slightly ajar, he peeked up and down the laneway.
“No one there, that’s good. Now I need to get rid of these fuckin’ gloves.”
He jogged the short distance to the main road, hands in pockets, then rounded the corner to be among other pedestrians. There’s safety in numbers, he thought, as he walked with a bowed head.
Bruno felt secure in knowing he could wear his balaclava, while the chances of being recognised were slim. By the time he’d reached the bar he had frequented on a couple of occasions with Stan, about two blocks up, the night was still bitterly cold night, but the snow was no more than a few flakes. Even so, some people had their coat-collars pulled up, while others had their head fully covered.
He entered the bar, but stood just inside the door. With his paranoia still on high alert, he scanned the whole bar before ordering a drink. Although he was not one for drinking hard liquor, he ordered a double whiskey and then sat in an empty booth. With downcast eyes, he glanced around to see if he was observed, as he slipped the gloves from his hands. They would remain where he placed them, on the seat between himself and the wall, for someone to find, and maybe wear. As the whiskey warmed his innards, he knew one task remained. To dispose of his balaclava a visit to the toilet was necessary.
If the cops want it, they can have it. I’ll buy one tomorrow … and some gloves, he mused, as he urinated onto the balaclava as it lay at the bottom of the urinal.
With a hot coffee in hand, and having made up his mind to visit Katherine another day, he settled himself on the couch to watch television.
The detectives waited in their unmarked police, with a view to the front door of Bruno’s building.
“Do you think we can get a warrant?” Detective Andretta asked.
“I’m not sure. Am I wrong when I say he stinks? If I had to work with him all day his body odour would drive me crazy,” Detective Perez remarked.
“He was on the nose.”
Leah Perez was hoping to see Bruno leave the building. We need an opportunity to arrest him. Anything will do! Loitering, jaywalking, it doesn’t really matter.
Tired of waiting, she said, “Let’s go back to the station and see if we can get a warrant.”